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Paul Merson believes Arsenal will finish ‘seventh of eighth’ in the Premier League next season unless Mikel Arteta oversees an overhaul during the summer transfer window.
The Gunners have not secured a Premier League top-four finish since the 2015/16 season but closed to within five points of fourth-placed Chelsea with a 1-0 win over West Ham.
Mikel Arteta’s side were far from at their best against the Hammers but clinched an important victory thanks to Alexandre Lacazette’s second-half goal.
Arsenal hero Merson insists the team have improved since Arteta replaced Unai Emery as manager but says the squad still needs an overhaul to compete for a top-four spot.
‘Unless Mikel Arteta gets some players in and out of Arsenal this summer this team is going to finish seventh or eighth next season,’ Merson told Starsport.
‘I’m not surprised Mesut Ozil’s agent says he’s not going anywhere though. Where can he go on that money?
‘If he was on £50,000-a-week everybody would be trying to sign him but because he’s on £350,000 everyone hates him.
‘Arteta needs to get players out though, and I don’t think he’ll be too upset that Sokratis says he’ll go if he’s not playing enough.
‘I like players who are honest like that to be fair to him. It’s better than being prepared to just sit around picking up your money.
‘Arsenal need to get their wage bill down and get rid of players who don’t have a future there. So Sokratis is expendable.
‘But I hope Arteta gets to bring in a few too because he hasn’t really got his own players there yet.
‘He will need a good pre-season and some new signings but I can see progress already even though they went out of the Europa League.’
Arsenal return to action on Wednesday night with a trip to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.